The Original American Spies

Unlikely Warriors in a “Peculiar Service.”

They were perhaps the most unlikely participants of the American Revolution: a 21-year-old Connecticut school teacher, a middle-ages Philadelphia Quaker housewife, a famous Boston Surgeon, the charming wife of a soldier, a quiet New Jersey butcher, a flamboyant New York clothier and raconteur, and the most successful newspaper publisher in the North American colonies. They were a diverse lot, coming from different locations, circumstances and backgrounds, yet for their own private reasons, they all took part in what one of them referred to as a “peculiar service;” they were spies. This book consists of seven stand-alone accounts of individuals who operated as spies during the American Revolutionary War. They were not trained as covert agents, which meant they had to develop their skills and techniques on their own, often while in the midst of the enemy where discovery meant almost certain death for them, and suffering and hardship for their family and friends. Five of them spied for the American cause, and two spied for the British. Not all were motivated by patriotism, and not all escaped capture, yet their often painfully gained experience benefitted future operations and operatives. They all were daring, intelligent and resourceful, and each had a unusual personality. Their labors resulted in battlefield victories, thwarted enemy plots, and significantly changed the conduct of the war, yet in spite of their efforts and their riveting stories, they and their deeds had remained relatively unknown.

Publisher: McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, N.C.

Publication Date: 2014

ISBN 978-0-7864-7794-4

Key words:

  1. United States – History – Revolution – 1775-1783 – Secret Service
  2. Spies – United States – Biography
  3. Spies – Great Britain – Biography
  4. Espionage – United States – History – 18th Century

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